How to Coach Your Own Child

A dad's wisdom can come in handy on the field. See more sport pictures.

As your kid begins playing sports, time -- both yours and your child's -- will be eaten up by this new activity. Frequently, there's a call for a parent to volunteer as team coach and spend the next several months attempting to herd cats. You're going to be sitting through games and practices anyway, so there won't be much of a difference time-wise, right? And if the coaching position is going to be filled by a random parent, why shouldn't it be you?

There's a little more thought that needs to go into answering those questions. Many youth coaches first get into coaching because their son or daughter plays on a team that needs a coach. However, parents who coach aren't always qualified to do so. If you've been asked to coach, make sure you understand how to play and coach the game, or commit yourself to learning. No player wants to play for a coach -- especially his or her own parent -- who doesn't know what's going on.

Regardless of the skill set of the parent/volunteer coach, there's an opportunity to share a great experience with your kid. There's also an opportunity to drive a wedge in your relationship with your child.

If you have issues with temper, patience or communicating with children who may or may not be listening to you, coaching is definitely not for you. Otherwise, coaching a team upon which your child plays can be a fun, rewarding experience for both parent and child.

Another thing to consider: Does your child even want you to coach? You can save your relationship a lot of trouble by directly asking your kid in a way that allows him or her to answer truthfully. Some parents get so excited and enthusiastic about becoming coaches that it surpasses the child's excitement and enthusiasm, or even directly decreases it. If your child is ambivalent or seems unsure about the situation, let someone else coach so you can be your child's biggest fan in the stands.

Before taking the plunge, account for your child's age -- younger kids play for the sheer joy of playing. They may be less interested in developing into a sports stand-out for their coach/parent than they are in just having a good time, burning off energy and making new friends.

So, how do you coach your own child, use the experience to bond, and maintain harmony both on the team and in the home? Keep reading to find out.